The Forecast Isn’t Brilliant
We don’t get terribly excited about weather forecasts, up here on our mountain, because experience has taught us that the more one hears about an upcoming storm, the less likely it is to actually materialize. However, when I peruse the Hazardous Weather Conditions page on the National Weather Service page, for the next four days, I do get a little nervous.
|Not an auspicious forecast...|
The water has been running out on the side of the hill for a couple of weeks now, the logic being that it can flow over the top of the tank, and down the side of the hill, or it can travel through my water system, thereby keeping the pipes from freezing, and then flow down the side of the hill.
With 2-3 inches of the white business here, 5-7 inches there, and plenty in between, the likelihood of a freeze-out is high. We used to get them fairly routinely in the early years, back in the eighties. Gluten-Free Mama and I would round up HeadSodBuster, BenJamMan and SmallBoy, and head over to the Big House, ten minutes’ walk away, and camp with my folks, Robert and Pauline.
Grandpa was happy because he loved to cook for enthusiastic eaters, and the three boys qualified, little carnivores all three. Since Robert’s specialty was anything “meat and potatoes,” the boys were happy campers.
What with bundling up for outside playtime, frolicking for as long as toes and ears could stand it, and then coming back in for steaming cocoa and a blazing stove to warm up next to, we all had job security.
A bushel of Legos battled for attention, along with the VHS machine, and a library of kid-friendly films. The exotic nature of snow, the fragrance of a stew or soup permeating the air, and the sense of camping, combined to make these memorable times for our family.
In employing the camping motif, it must be explained that the Big House was based on the Swiss chalet concept, a huge, open room, with a downstairs living area that would sleep half of a small army, and an open loft above that would sleep the other half. Additionally, there were two enclosed bedrooms upstairs, and the master bedroom downstairs.
The boys literally slept where they were situated, downstairs, while drifting off to whatever Disney flick was playing. Disney film? OK, maybe that is an exaggeration. “Them,” the saga of the giant ants encamped below the streets of 1950’s Los Angeles, was a favorite, as was “Flashpoint,” the 1984 Kris Kristofferson film of border patrol theatrics.
One year, under the direction of Uncle Rob, one of the boys’ favorite human beings, we all built an igloo big enough to allow the three boys to huddle inside, if not for long, at least long enough to know they had accomplished the feat.
We tobogganed, we built snowmen and we threw snowballs, until our hands ached and our noses were running faster than the water we had left spraying outside to keep the lines free. And then we ate and napped. OK, I ate and napped. The boys didn’t nap.
I was teaching the three boys to play bridge, beginning when SmallBoy was four years old, and could grip the hand of cards. Well, sure, I had to help him a little in the early going, but then I had to help BenJamMan and HeadSodBuster too; playing bridge is not like playing “war.”
And gosh, for anywhere between four and eight hands, things would go swimmingly, and then a donnybrook would break out. Right there, in front of me, I would have weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth. Lots of teeth-gnashing.
But then again, braver souls than these lads have struggled with bridge. In my own early going, Grandma Pauline once confided in me that she played for twenty years, before she felt she had a strong enough grasp of the game, to call herself a bridge player. Go figure.
On the other hand, we could play poker for seven hours straight, without an angry word, even though dollars exchanged hands the way one would expect. Serious business, that poker.
My mantra before I started teaching was, “There’s no business like snow business,” and I loved it. Then I had to be able to get off the mountain every school day, and I changed my tune, dramatically. To this day, that tune has remained the same.
|Life is a balance.|
Snow is the guest who overstays her welcome. Beautiful and enchanting when she first arrives, she loses her luster the first time I slip and fall, though generally, it’s a soft and safe landing. Besides, in recent years the quad has made the snow more manageable, until it bottoms out…
So yes, bring the outside wood-ring indoors for the next week, stoke up extra firewood on the front deck just outside the door, and clean both stoves today, so as to have the best chance of avoiding technical difficulties somewhere along the line.
With temperatures in the low twenties at night and thirties during the day, the water outside will never defrost, so I will have to periodically take a tea kettle of boiling water out for the chickens, so that their outdoor water supply remains accessible.
I will keep the path to the wood-house cleared; I will keep the route out to where the vehicles are parked cleared also, so that the ice becomes less of a factor, instead of a greater hazard than ever.
Finally, like Robert, I will have a soup simmering on the kitchen wood stove, my own personal crock pot.
I don’t care for it but I have no control over it, so I just prepare for the worst. Then, my biggest challenge will be to keep the snow from building up on the satellite dishes. I don’t care about the television but don’t mess with my internet service.
Did I just say that?